Global Crossing completes optical networking project

A four-year optical network project by Global Crossing connecting 200 cities in 27 nations was completed when the service provider hooked up Lima, Peru, to its South American cross-connection, company officials said today. Global Crossing sells networking and telecommunications services to corporate customers and other carriers.

In a statement Friday, Global Crossing CEO Tom Casey attempted to parlay successful completion of the network project into good financial news.

"Global Crossing's business plan is fully funded, including receipt of over US$3 billion in after-tax proceeds from the [Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier] sale closing June 29," he said. "In addition, we have already recouped more than half of our construction costs through existing sales contracts."

Global Crossing is in the process of selling its local telephone business to Citizens Communications for $3.5 billion. Citizens Communications provides local telephone services to rural and suburban areas in 17 U.S. states.

Casey said the newly completed network provides "seamless end-to-end connections to ... customers from Europe to North and South America to Asia."

Global Crossing's carrier customers include Deutsche Telekom, British Telecommunications, Telecom Italia SpA and Qwest Communications International. Its corporate customers include Procter & Gamble, Merck & Co., Sony, Pfizer, Microsoft, NEC and American Express.

"Unlike many other competitive carriers, Global Crossing has proved able to pass through the peak of its funding needs," said analysts at Merrill Lynch & Co. in a report. The new network gives Global Crossing "a strong source of competitive advantage in its pursuit of large commercial and carrier customers globally," said the report.

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